A deal has been struck between two giants across the financial spectrum – one from banking, and the other from insurance.
HSBC has reached an agreement to acquire AXA Singapore, in a move the bank has deemed a “key milestone” in an ambition to be the leading insurance and wealth provider in the region. It will acquire 100% of the issued share capital of the firm for US$575 million, subject to regulatory approval.
Describing the market as “strategically important”, HSBC noted that AXA Singapore is currently the eighth largest life insurance provider in Singapore, as well as the fifth largest P&C player. It had net assets of US$474 million, annualised premiums of US$85 million and GWP of US$739 million for the year ending December 31, 2020. Now, HSBC is confident that the business can scale up its presence with the deal and create the seventh largest life insurer and fourth largest retail health insurer with over 600,000 policies in-force covering life, health and P&C.
“This is an important acquisition that demonstrates our ambition to grow our wealth business across Asia,” said HSBC chief executive Noel Quinn. “Wealth is one of our highest growth and highest return opportunities, and plays to our strengths as an Asia-centred bank with global reach. We are acquiring a good business that fits well with our existing operations, and which strengthens our status as one of Asia’s leading wealth and insurance providers.”
Meanwhile chief executive of wealth and personal banking Nuno Matos noted that the proposed acquisition “will immediately put us in a leading position in health and employee benefits.”
“Burgeoning affluent and high net worth populations in Singapore and across Southeast Asia will drive strong demand for an array of wealth, health and insurance solutions for individuals, their families and SMEs,” he added.
Meanwhile, AXA described the move as another step in its “simplification journey.”
“In line with the group’s strategy, we are focusing on our core markets where we have the size, presence in the right business segments and a strong potential to grow,” said CEO of AXA in Asia and Africa Gordon Watson. “We have, in Asia, a unique set of assets across established and high potential markets where we are deploying our vision, notably in health and protection, bringing high value products and services to our customers. I would like to thank the management team and all the employees of AXA Singapore for their strong contribution and commitment over the years and wish them every success for the future.”
Once the deal is sealed, the intention is to merge the operations, subject to approval from the Singapore regulator and courts. The transaction is expected to close in Q4, 2021.